LAS VEGAS – Sometimes the town of Sparks, Nev., located just outside Reno in the state’s northern reaches, still seems like a Wild West holdout featuring the ghosts of all those shoot-’em-up cowboys.
Well, Sparks lived up to its old gun-slinging ways this week, but this time with a dash of Barney Fife panache straight out of Mayberry: A moviegoer accidentally shot himself in the buttocks the other night during a showing of the movie “The Bourne Legacy.”
Police say a 56-year-old man, permitted to legally carry a concealed weapon, shifted in his seat and a handgun dropped from his pocket. The weapon hit the floor and discharged.
“It’s just plain weird,” Sparks Police Lt. Chad Hawkins said. “We don’t know if the gun was in a holster or what.”
The tale gets weirder.
“After wounding himself in an unknown portion of his buttocks,” Hawkins said, “he stood up, apologized to people in the audience and left.” No one else was hurt.
Police located the man at a local hospital, where he was treated and released. He has been charged with discharging a firearm in public.
Though Hawkins and his colleagues can chuckle now, he says there was a moment that night when nobody smiled. A few other moviegoers called to report the incident. The first details were that eight or nine shots had been fired in the theater.
The incident came less than a month after a shooting at a suburban Denver theater that left 12 dead and 58 injured.
“You can imagine our response: ‘Oh no!’ But we got there only to find one shell casing on the floor,” Hawkins said.